oscar zia

May the intensity be with you

I sit here, nearly at the end of June, and with the traditional Midsommar festivities and the Summer Solstice on my back, reflecting on the month that has always brought me both extreme stress and intensity, but also relief and fulfilment: May.

Photo by Jengod. “The Brentwood Maypole tradition originated when Archer School for Girls was still the Eastern Star Home.” Wikimedia. 8 May 2012.

While you might think that the erection of a maypole is central to the chaos of the season, but no in fact this is not the reason. For many years, despite having danced around a few dozen maypoles in my life (with or without a certain frog dance), the month of May has always been a lot, and by a lot, I mean a lot. A maypole would be a walk in the park, but the ribbons surrounding it do represent a rather large amount of work, and so symbolically it’s very representative.

Photo by Lee Guan Wei Daniel. “OMM performs at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Concert Hall in January 2009.” Wikimedia. 3 January 2009

First up, is the musical commitments. Whether it be ones I perform, or ones that I organise, May is filled with music and the end of term performances. This is mostly done to avoid the crunch of holidays that come in June, and the end of school terms. This year in particular, May 2nd and 3rd vexed me with an international music festival that required me to recruit, train, and get recordings of a new composition in less than 4 weeks. We even managed to perform it in front of the school, quite successfully I might add. Props to ya mama!

Then we move on to the worshiping of my own true religion, The Eurovision Song Contest. While most other religious observances happen for majorities of the world, this is the time for mine. Step aside Christmas, move to the left Thanksgiving, take a hike Diwali. With two weeks of rehearsals, a week of shows, and a lot of reviews, bopping around, dancing around, and worshiping the musical lineups to be had. It usually totals to about 10 hours of TV coverage through the semi-finals and final, but those who are long time readers of this blog know that I used to do reviews of Eurovision and Melodifestivalen, but that has long since stopped. My commitment to the cause of the European Broadcasting Company since the mid 90s has never waned. Who knows if I will pick up writing reviews again, but the memories of worshiping and fanboying Adam Svensson, Jonathan Fagerlund, Oscar Zia, or Edin Jusuframic , or any of the other worthwhile recipients of my affection, will forever be held in my heart, and in consequently on the pages of the internet.

Photo by David Mulder. “Grade book” Flickr. 24 November 2015.

Then comes the assessments, final exams, and marking, marking, and more marking. The life of a teacher really starts to pick up and tighten up in the month of May, and when you compound this with all the other stuff going on, it’s no wonder that sleep is lost. Whether it be the exams, or the comments required for final report card preparation, needless to say it’s a lot to do in a little amount of time. This year, with final grammar exams to torture my students and demonstrate how much more they need to focus in order to pass, the turnaround was very quick; almost too quick to manage. Despite this, I conquered.

Photo by Firkin. “Gemini drawing 6” OpenClipArt. 24 February 2017.

The only thing that I didn’t mange to fulfil was the deadline for ordering supplies. I was 1 day late, and I regret it a lot, but alas it got done. I welcomed June, despite the arrival of Gemini (which always tends to be rather fickle for us Cancerians), I managed to get to the end and conqueror the month of May. You might think it’s silly to think that the period of Gemini would cause some problems, and sure Gemini does get a lot of hate, but for me the hurt is real. Some people like to say May the Fourth be with you, but truth be told… Let the Force of May be Mine for the Taking. Begin copyright… ha!

Happy Hunger Games, or should I say, may the odds be ever in your favour!

I met a celebrity, Oscar Zia

Despite the fact that my friends don’t appreciate this fact, or particularly know who the celebrity is, I’m still proud to announce that I met a celebrity.

I was on a party cruise, Viking Line’s Cinderella to Mariehamn, and to my surprise a musical artist and dancer that I’ve seen on TV and Melodifestivalen was the featured artist. I naturally got excited at this surprise and I of course made a point to be there before, during and after the performance.

His name is Oscar Zia and he is well known in Sweden, but not by foreigners. He sang with a neat cover band, and after his performance he appeared on the dance floor with a few friends.

My colleague and friend Elin saw this, and based upon the fact that I earlier said that he’s so cute, thought it was incumbent upon her to insist that I kiss him. Of course that was a crazy idea, being a stranger and all, and more importantly a celebrity (knowing how much crazy attention celebrities sometimes get). I rejected her idea. She persisted.

The next thing I knew, she grabbed me by the arm. Suddenly I realised that she also grabbed his arm and turned him around and then suddenly pushed us both together. Face-to-face with a twenty-year old extremely attractive celebrity, I stood completely still and in the balance held the pregnant awkwardness. I said hello, and she screamed for us to take a photo.

To give you a sense of how hot this guy is, here is a photo.

Vilka är ”alla andra artister” som ska gå på denna toalett???

A post shared by oscarzia (@oscarzia) on

And so we took a photo of us together, and I said thank you and moved on, embarrassed and shocked. Elin persisted and still thought I should kiss him, I laughed at her and said that she’s crazy.

And for the next 45 minutes or so (at least it felt like a long time), Oscar and his posse danced basically right next to me and the girls. My crazy dance moves seemed not to deter him or his group, and I was having difficulty believing that I was so close.

Elin persisted and kept telling me that I was sneaking peeks, and admittedly I did. I mean the guy is a 10, and I felt embarrassed. She seemed to be convinced that he was looking back, but I’m skeptical. Crazy dancing continued, and honestly I was most surprised that he didn’t run away like most people do when I’m dancing around them.

You may think, “What the hell is with this guy” or “What’s wrong with him”? Nothing, I just dance really expressively like it’s my last opportunity. It’s a bit intense, I suppose, much like me.

And so, upon reflecting on the evening who know’s what happened, or is going to happen. Maybe he was flirting with me and I didn’t realise it, maybe he thinks I’m a creepy fan (but I don’t think fan is the right word), maybe he thought I was flirting with him without me knowing, so many questions and only time will tell.

Or maybe it won’t…

Melodifestivalen 2014: Deltävling N°3: Göteborg

Göteborg.00.Noor el-Refai & Anders Jansson

As we continue on our tour of the Swedish pre-selection, we come to a star-studded and exciting semi-final for the year. Onwards ever striving onwards.

Outtrigger – Echo
=> Andra Chansen

It’s no wonder that there was support for this song to take it to the second chance round. While it’s not my cup of tea musically, the presentation is very unique with cages and a straight-jacket, and what comes across as a very “clean” main hard rock singer. Having someone that is not covered in tattoos, blonde, beautiful, is something that is very unique and I think that’s what appealed to me, cause frankly the lead singer has style. The song is melodic enough to have appeal from all areas, and it transitions in a very well produced production. It’s rough around the edges, but actually quite good!

EKO – Red

Take some electronic music, a redhead, and some minimalism and you get this piece of music. What is seemingly inspired by past years of electronic music, this one is an interesting choice for an entry featuring a pretty good singer and band in a way that is simple, and still relatable. The frequent “break out” dance moves and geeky hot piano player and drummer make for a positive music experience, even if it’s a bit “out there” for me. I want to be held now, because really, I am fading! Kind of sad that it comes dead last tho, probably because we don’t know who the heck it is! There is something to be be said of familiarity.

Oscar Zia – Yes we can
=> Finalen
Göteborg.03.Oscar Zia

Former dancer turned singer (seems like there are a lot of those), Oscar comes with his sassy man dancers to talk about how they can. I find that the vocals and the presentation is quite teenage focused and as a such since I’m no longer a teeny-bopper, it doesn’t appeal to me. Too young, too generic pop, it just didn’t sit well with me. The dancing is by far the best part of this entry, and as far as I’m concerned it needs to die in the final. There will be no partying in our underwear, just sayin’!

Shirley Clamp – Burning alive
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.04.Shirley Clamp

The diva is back, this time in English with her epic ballad about burning alive. Always singing about love, and the profession of her trials and tribulations with Melodifestivalen, she brings the wind-machines to a whole new level from start to finish. With the vocals of a true diva, and impeccable ability, she gives ‘er and gives a performance that is very intense. The song isn’t terribly accessible because it’s a ballad, but her vocals and presence on stage is enough to be a winner in any flat year of music. As usual she has that super high note that she holds forever, and then grabs her dress and flys in the wind machine which is kicked into high-gear.

State of Drama – All we are
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.05.State of Drama

Back for another go, is State of Drama, with their super charismatic lead singer who looks like he hasn’t aged a day and is super young-looking. With a very good radio hit, this song is a nice accessible song that is fun and just features a bunch of guys dancing and singing around and using a megaphone to get his message across for effect. We all just want to raise our arms and say “hey” when instructed, because really t’s just charming. Too many rings and accessories though. It even has a key change so it just makes is even more fabulous! On a side note, I think he’s kind of a lookalike of the YouTube celebrity Philip deFranco.

CajsaStina Åkerström – En enkel sång
Göteborg.06.CaisaStina Åkerström

In the 90s she had a hit, and then in 2014 she had a flop. She wrote it herself which is fabulous and all, but really I didn’t connect to this song at all. She looked a bit out of sorts on stage and with strange eye-contact. The fact that it’s a bit country just really made me hate it even more. It’s a simple song, a it’s title suggests, but it just wasn’t for me.

Ace Wilder – Busy doin’ nothin
=> Finalen
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.07.Ace Wilder

If there was any hype about a song that is so typically not Swedish, this is it. It’s catchy and something that you would imagine to come out of the creativeness of the Eastern Bloc, but really it’s an unknown singer named Alice Gernandt who surprisingly released an album previously to little attention came out with this simple and super catchy song that would be a great selection to send to Copenhagen this year. If this doesn’t win the whole thing, I’d be really surprised, but she’s got tough competition from Sanna and others in this wide open contest.

Dr. Alban & Jessica Folcker – Around the world
Göteborg.08.Dr. Alban & Jessa Folcker

Every time that I see Jessica Folcker on stage I get confused and don’t really understand what’s going on. Now she’s got a Nigerian born Swedish artistic speaking English with an African accident, and Jesscia adding the interesting parts. Tons of confetti, and outfits that make me uncomfortable and not sure what Jessica is trying to pull off, I don’t really know where to look or what to think. It’s catchy, but really it’s just bad, sadly. Why is he a doctor, cause I feel like it’s really a disgrace to use in academia where people actually earn their Dr status.

So after this weeks entries I see a possible winner, and a few other songs that are alright but popular and will be heard on the airwaves for a time to come!